News & Media

Isuzu Freightpack Urban Media Review: Trucksales

By Geoff Middleton

First published on on 9 February, 2021

Isuzu’s middle-weight Freightpack has been selling up a storm lately and the latest version, the four-cylinder Urban with its enticing price tag will only boost its sales numbers further.

The marketing of trucks at the lighter end of the weight scale has changed. Gone are the days of going down to your local dealer and having a chat and a haggle with your favourite salesman, then lobbing at the body builder and having a similar discussion, then forking our for the rego and a few extras and then finally, after a few weeks, maybe more, driving off in your bodied truck.

No Sir. These days it’s all about immediacy. Drive-away packages with everything included and off to work. So simple. So direct.

Isuzu kicked it all off with its Ready to Work packages a decade or more ago (well, Daihatsu actually did with the Delta Tipper, but we won’t go into semantics), then the other Japanese brands got on board: Hino with its Built to Go range and Fuso with its Built Ready range.

Drive-away pricing is nothing new either. Hyundai started that off in the Nineties with its Drive Away No More To Pay campaign. And now virtually every car manufacturer advertises drive-away pricing.

Now it’s hit the truck market. Isuzu’s Takeaway Trucks campaign that you might have seen on this site offers drive-away deals on pre-bodied trucks so you can take them straight from the dealership to work on the same day. It makes so much sense.

Now those marketing ideas have hit the medium-duty market with the F-Series Freightpack. Not only is the Freightpack Urban a handy pre-bodied truck that you can put straight to work, it comes at a competitive price point of under $100k.

For just $99,990 you get a 10-pallet body with a host of bells and whistles powered by Isuzu’s proven four-cylinder engine and an auto transmission. However, this is a special at the time of writing and was only for a limited period until the end of March. After that, we don’t know if Isuzu will hold that price point.

What you get

The Freightpack Urban is based on the Isuzu FRR 107-210. The translation of that is a 10.7 tonne GVM with a 210hp engine.

The interior has a smart, logical layout that’s easy to navigate even for part-time drivers.

The engine is Isuzu’s 4HK1 diesel, sporting a power rating of 210ps (155kW) and putting out an impressive 726Nm of torque provided by a two-stage turbocharging system.

Transmission is Isuzu’s six-speed torque-converter automated manual or TCAMT.

Safety is up there, if not top of the heap, but you do get driver and passenger air bags, stability control, ABS and a Hill Start Aid. Also standard is a reversing camera, a 6.2-inch touchscreen multimedia AV unit with DAB+ and truck-specific satellite navigation.

As mentioned, the body is a 10-pallet curtainsider with quick-release latches (two per side), ‘easy glide’ curtains, and load restraint ratchets for each pallet, which are neatly placed on the passenger-side rope rail and easily slide up and down to align with your load.

The quick-release latches are a dream to use.

Inside, pallet-width load-restraining and interlocking side gates are easily moved into and out of position for forklift access. As was pointed out when I picked up the truck, these are Isuzu’s standard gates so if you have another Isuzu in your fleet, they are interchangeable, or if you lose or damage one, you can get a replacement at your dealer.

In the cab

It’s only one step up to the cab and once inside, I found it to be very roomy. The driver gets a nice multi-adjustable Isri seat with integrated seatbelt. It’s firm but still comfortable, and after two days behind the wheel, I wasn’t complaining.

Vision is good with a deep windscreen and big powered mirrors with convex spotters (also powered) below.

Load restraint ratchets slide on rails on the left-hand side.

There’s really good legroom for the driver too. The footwell isn’t at all cramped and there’s a substantial dead pedal for an idle left foot.

With the middle seat folded down (you’d only really use it as a seat in emergencies) you get a table for working with a bit of storage for paperwork underneath and a few little cubby holes for pens, phones and the like.

There’s more storage up above the windscreen and a couple of cup holders in the dash. There’s no storage in the doors, but there is a little behind the seats for your coat or a small bag.

On the road

The Freightpack Urban is a real surprise on the road. It’s smooth and quiet and really quite comfortable.

The doors open to 90 degrees and access is via one step with good hand-holds.

The take-off from rest though the lower gears is quick and the shifts are pretty fast for an AMT. The torque converter AMT is streets ahead of the old AMTs, which were ponderous and indecisive in comparison.

On the freeway, the cruise control worked well holding a steady 80km/h at around 1600rpm and 100km/h at a smidge under 2000rpm. It was happy at 100 and didn’t feel stressed and it didn’t really need to kick down to fifth even on the slight hills. Our load was minimal however, and we didn’t get to test it with anywhere near GVM.

I have driven the four-cylinder before with a full load, and I can attest that is a good performer and in many instances, you wouldn’t need to step up to the six – especially if you’re only working around town.

The truck is manoeuvrable and easy to park and that’s helped by the reversing camera mounted above the rear doors. It’s also wired for sound so you can hear someone at the back of the truck as well as see them.

There’s a multi-adjustable Isri seat and the steering wheel is adjustable for tilt and reach.

Like most of the Freightpack Urban’s operation, daily maintenance is an easy task. A front access panel below the windscreen allows more commonly accessed fluid reservoirs (like washer fluid) to be maintained without tilting the cab; the engine oil dipstick is likewise accessible just behind the cabin and that’s where you’ll find the coolant too. That said, the all-steel cabin is easy enough to tilt through 45 degrees, thanks to torsion bar assistance.

With a diesel particulate filter as standard there’s also no need for AdBlue or similar fuel additives, the DPD burning of its own accord as required (or manually if needed). And with fewer service points there’s theoretically less to go wrong.

Summing up

Of course, the Freightpack Urban with its 10.7-tonne GVM and four-cylinder engine may not be the truck for everyone, but in the range of F-Series Freightpacks, Isuzu has five more trucks with GVMs up to capacities of 24 tonne and 14 pallets.

But the Freightpack Urban is the price-point truck at under $100k (for a limited time) and for that money, we reckon it’s a pretty good deal.

Engine: 5.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Output: 154kW (210hp) / 726Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automated manual
Fuel: 18.5L/100km (as tested)
Theoretical Range: 1081km (based on as tested figure and 200-litre tank)
Emissions Standard: ADR 80/03
Suspension: Leaf and hydraulic damper (front and rear)
Brakes: Air-over-hydraulic 320mm drums with ABS (front and rear)
GVM: 10,700kg
GCM: 16,000kg
Safety: Three-point seatbelts, driver and passenger airbags, traction control
Price: $99,990 Drive away
Warranty: Three years (truck and body)

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